In what the Financial Times calls ‘a sign of increasing tensions between the two companies’, Kotick said Warner Music had failed to acknowledge the benefits to music sales from Guitar Hero – and hinted the firm would be out of favour when it came to future iterations.
Kotick said that Edgar Bronfman, Warner Music’s chief executive, had made “one-sided comments” that were not “respectful of how much we’ve done to bring new audiences into the market”.
“I think his view was ... that [Warner Music] should be compensated the way they might for a performance on iTunes,” said Kotick. “But this is an entirely different business that is very technically complex. We’re going to favour those publishers that recognise and appreciate how much we can add value to their artists.”
He added: “We’re introducing a whole new group of artists to new audiences that is resulting in their iTunes downloads being exponentially higher than they would otherwise be, [as well as] new album sales and new merchandising opportunities.”
The game has sold close to 20m units and generated $1bn in revenues but has also boosted sales of the artists it features.
A Warner Music spokesman said the company had “enormous respect” for the investment and creativity game-publishers had brought to the music-gaming business.
He added: “We hope that our partners in the gaming space appreciate not only the value of their own contributions but also those of the recording artists, songwriters, record labels and music publishers on which their games are significantly based.”